Race-horse owners should raise issues of concern at racing authority’s two meetings

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Horse Racing Authority (GHRA), in its most gutted form, has issued an invitation to race-horse owners to a couple of meetings scheduled for Saturday March 7, 2015.

Too often on race day, officials and horse owners try to do the sport’s business and end up being distracted by the racing and all the excitement and noise; this meeting offers a perfect stage.

I advise all owners/trainers to bring their baggage and their issues and have them dealt with at either of these meetings. How can the sport of horse-racing in Guyana move forward when the owners and trainers are dealing with systemic issues preventing them from moving forward; they must voice their concern.

Editor, there are four partners in this sport: track owners, sponsors, fans, and most important, horse owners. Last I checked, it wasn’t anywhere near cheap to maintain and train a thoroughbred horse, much more the maintenance of 10 or 12. As for the owners of thoroughbred race horses, this is their sport, and the costs associated with presenting any animal on any of Guyana’s racetracks, are theirs and theirs only.

I have repeatedly asked this question with no answer in sight: why should a horse owner be held to ransom by track owners and dollar-oriented promoters. The star of any horse race meeting in this country happens to be a thoroughbred horse which is owned and maintained by a race-horse owner. No one comes to the track to see the track owner or the promoter; we go to watch these beautiful animals gallop and win our hearts in strides.

The horse owners in this sport hold the die, yet they are fearful to cast it and demand fair and open racing for their animals. Take a look around our sport; sponsors are drying up, and it’s due to the fact that horse racing has not been able to offer them any advertising value for the millions of dollars they pour into promoters’ coffers. The promoters do not offer advertising value to prospective sponsors, so in turn, they resort to horse trading and shenanigans in the lead-up to most race meetings.

The promoters shape the racing; the tracks have their own rules and separate allegiances and/or partnerships, and horse owners are left to fend for themselves, carting their horses from track to track fighting off unscrupulous track classifiers, punters, and track owners who bend and change the rules to suit their own interests. It seems as though these races are just thrown together. A few calls are made, and a race is made. If another owner comes along and wants in, no problem, we’ll just make adjustments until everyone is happy. A particular race on a provisional could start off as 7 furlongs, adjusted to 6 furlongs, then back to 7, all depending on the direction in which select owners pull the promoter.

Sometimes I wonder why owners even cart their horses to these events. We have placed so many obstacles and jumps in their way, we might as well switch from flat racing to jump.

So I ask the horse owners to loosen that girth strap which the promoters have tied them up with, remove the saddle track owners have placed on their backs, and take off the blinders they have placed on themselves, and come out and understand how the rules and policies affect them, the horse owners.

Yours faithfully,

Ron G Elcock

Media Relations, GHRA

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